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New San Diego Veterans Treatment Center In Old Town Opens Feb. 17

Evening Edition

A new residential treatment center for veterans will be opening in Old Town next week. The Aspire Center will be operated by the VA San Diego Healthcare System and will house up to 40 men and women who have served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The center will provide a full complement of medical health services, along with educational classes. Veterans will stay at the center for an average of 60-120 days. Debbie Dominick, the director of the center, said that the programs at the center will also help prevent the veterans from becoming homeless.

“What history has told us, especially from the Vietnam era, is that when people aren’t receiving the treatment they need after they return from combat, they have a greater risk of homelessness,” Dominick said.

San Diego is home to 36,000 troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. Kris Warren spent nine years in the Marine Corps and was deployed to Iraq with the first troop surge in 2003.

After his discharge a few years later, he struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder before getting help from a VA residential treatment center in Los Angeles.

“It was hard for me to relate to anybody, including my wife, my children, my brother, family members. I couldn’t speak their lingo,” Warren said.

Warren said the treatment center where he stayed helped guide him and showed him what he needed to do to be successful. Now, Warren is a social service assistant at the Aspire Center.

The building of the center sparked controversy more than two years ago because it is located across the street from a charter school. Concerns about security were resolved, and the building of the center was approved by City Council. The Aspire Center officially opens on Monday, Feb. 17.

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